National Area-Based Development Programme (NABDP)

UNDP Afghanistan: The National Area-Based Development Programme contributes to agricultural productivity and providing safe drinking water in rural Afghanistan. The programme has repaired over 2,000 kilometres of irrigation canals restoring nearly 10,000 hectares of farmlands as well as providing close to 345,000 households throughout the country with drinking water as of March 2015.

Agriculture has traditionally been the major source of income for the majority of the Afghan population, but the sector has suffered greatly from nearly 30 years of conflict, low investments and natural disasters. Much infrastructure remains to be reconstructed and internal markets are still disrupted. 

About 70 percent of the Afghan population lives in rural areas. Around 60 percent of the employed workforce is in agriculture working in low-productivity and subsistence-type production. About 45 percent of rural people are poor, as compared to 27 percent of the urban population. 

A basic lack of resources affects the majority of Afghans who depend on agriculture for their livelihood. There is little arable land, precipitation is scarce and climatic conditions are difficult in many parts of the country. Since 1999, recurrent droughts have severely affected the livelihoods of rural households, which had already lost many of their assets. Poverty rates in areas without irrigation are likely to be higher, with 65 percent households facing food insecurity. 

Only six percent of Afghans have access to electricity grid with the majority of the population dependent on unhealthy alternatives such as kerosene, or environmentally detrimental solutions such as firewood.


Achieving a significant reduction in poverty in Afghanistan requires a strong focus on agriculture and rural employment generation, the promotion of sustainable livelihoods and the development of rural infrastructure. 

The National Area-Based Development Programme (NABDP) is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) and UNDP.  

It was launched in 2002 to contribute to a sustainable reduction of poverty and an improvement of livelihoods in rural Afghanistan by investing in social organization, infrastructure, local economic development and sub-national governance initiatives.

The programme operates in all 34 provinces of Afghanistan with projects in 317 of the 402 districts. In the past 11 years, it has implemented more than 3,800 projects reaching about 24.5 million beneficiaries. NABDP works closely with rural communities to develop and strengthen governance at the district level. 

NABDP supports the following areas:

  • Strengthening institutions at the district-level to address local priorities: 

NABDP instituted to represent the voice of rural Afghans, including women, and to promote engagement with the central government,  in incorporating district priorities into provincial  development plans. District Development Assemblies (DDAs) play a pivotal role in rural development. Since the inception of DDAs, NABDP has set out to support and strengthen the capacity of DDAs.

  •  Improving access to key services for the rural poor: 

Reliable and regular access to essential services remain to be a significant hurdle to most Afghans residing in rural areas. Tor support the rural poor NABDP aims to provide access to basic services such as clean potable water, reliable energy, irrigation for livestock and crops, suitable roads and bridges, as well as protection from natural disasters through the implementation of rural infrastructure projects that have been prioritized by the members of the DDAs.

What we have accomplished so far

  • 388 DDAs have been established in 34 provinces.
  • 5,878 men (70 percent) and 2,490 women (30 percent)  have been re-elected as members of 305 DDAs.
  • 308 DDAs in 34 provinces received Grant-in-Aid, including organizational and physical capacity support.
  • 181 District Information Centers have been established in 33 provinces.
  • 177 micro hydro power projects provide electricity to over 230,341 people.
  • Approximately 5.4 million Afghans living in rural areas have access to improved roads and bridges.
  • Over 6.4 million Afghans living in rural areas are protected from floods and other natural disasters.
  • 151 reintegration projects for ex-combatants were completed benefiting approximately 3.2 million people 
  • Approximately 7 million labour days were created through various infrastructure projects

Who Finances it?

Donor name

Amount contributed per year in US$


Government of Netherlands


Government of Japan


Government of Italy


European Union


Government of Australia



European Union


Government of Japan


Government of Netherlands



Government of Spain


Government of Australia


Government of Japan


Government of Netherlands


Government of Norway



Government of Canada


Government of United Kingdom


Government of Japan


European Union


Government of Denmark


Government of Italy


Government of Netherlands


Government of Norway


Delivery in previous fiscal year in US$

Dec 2014


Dec 2013


Dec 2012


Dec 2011


At a Glance
Start Date:
July 2009
End Date:
December 2015
Geographic coverage:
National level
Focus Area
Poverty Reduction
MDG 1: Eradicate Extreme Hunger and Poverty, MDG 3: Promote Gender Equality, MDG 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability, MDG 9: Enhance Security (Specific to AFG)
Project Manager:
Mr. Mohammad Shoaib Khaksari
Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Spain, UNHCR
Implementation Modality:
National Implementation
Implementing Partners:
Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development
Other Key Partners:
Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Public Health and the Independent Directorate for Local Governance
Budget (Phase III)
US$ 294,666,069
Donor Contribution
US$ 295,251,813
Aligned to National Priority Programmes 1
National Water and Natural Resources Development and 4: Strengthening Local Institutions
Open Data

Detailed information on NABDP and  6,000+ UNDP development projects in 177 countries and territories worldwide.

NABDP Project Summary

The Project Summary of National Area-Based Development Programme (NABDP) covers in a two-page PDF document the issues, responses and achievements of this UNDP project in Afghanistan.

Project Document